Citizen lobbying organisation GetUp! has published a strongly worded rejection of a YouTube video published by Federal Attorney-General Nicola Roxon yesterday relating to the Government’s current data retention and surveillance proposal, describing Roxon’s video as “partisan spin” and highlighting what it said were inaccuracies in it.
The Federal Attorney-General’s Department is currently promulgating a package of reforms which would see a number of wide-ranging changes made to make it easier for law enforcement and intelligence agencies to monitor what Australians are doing on the Internet. For example, one new power is a data retention protocol which would require ISPs to retain data on their customers’ Internet and telephone activities for up to two years, and changes which would empower agencies to source data on users’ activities on social networking sites. Another power would see it made illegal for Australians to refuse to decrypt their data, and warrants are also to be simplified and streamlined.
Yesterday, Roxon took to YouTube to make an impassioned plea to Australians not to believe some of the criticism which is being spread about the package, which has been widely slammed by a large number of interest groups as being over the top and akin to a “police state”. Part of the video was a direct response to an ongoing campaign by GetUp! on the issue, which has urged its members to oppose the proposal.
However, in a new statement published late yesterday, GetUp! rejected Roxon’s criticism of its campaign on the issue.
“GetUp has been engaged in a dialogue with the Attorney’s office for the last two weeks and on 6 September offered to give her the opportunity to participate in a live and unedited Question and Answer session on our website,” the organisation wrote. “We offered to give her an opportunity to make her case, and take questions from GetUp members who want to know more about these proposed changes.”
“GetUp made it clear that during this live broadcast the Attorney would be free to clarify her position on the changes and GetUp’s campaign against them. The offer was made to facilitate this from our Sydney office, or from her Parliament House or Electorate Office at her convenience.”
“Without having responded to that offer, the Attorney has claimed that GetUp had refused to distribute her response amongst our members. As an independent movement, we are not willing to distribute partisan spin to our members without the opportunity for those ideas to be challenged. Our democracy is best served by a robust debate, and our representatives should welcome the opportunity for a deeper engagement and be willing to answer questions from a concerned public.”…
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